All posts by James Iffland

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The Paradox of John Silber

To say it’s the “end of an era” at Boston University with the passing of John Silber is an understatement. Very few university presidents in the country’s history have made their mark as Silber did at BU. In his case, however, the mark is contradictory.

When I arrived at BU, in 1974, Silber had been president for only three years. It’s difficult to imagine how a university leader could so quickly bring about such a polarized environment. BU had become the academic equivalent of a war zone. The…